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Metro Vancouver might see 'hotter-than-average' temperatures this summer. Here's why

The Weather Network says quickly warming sea surface temperatures might mean that El Niño will set in "stronger and faster" this year. 
The Metro Vancouver weather forecast might include hotter-than-average temperatures due to quickly warming sea surface temperatures in 2023.

As the B.C. government advises locals to prepare for extreme heat this week, experts warn that quickly warming sea surface temperatures could indicate an even hotter summer in Canada. 

The Weather Network says quickly warming sea surface temperatures might mean that El Niño will set in "stronger and faster" this year. 

Since 2020, the planet has been in the cold phase (La Niña) of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern. But this pattern shifted to ENSO-neutral conditions this spring. 

In a report issued on Monday (May 8), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center said it observed ENSO-neutral conditions and "near-to-above average" equatorial sea surface temperatures (SST) across most of the Pacific Ocean.

But the report states that there is a 62 per cent chance that the El Niño conditions will develop between May and July.

In El Niño years, there are warmer than average sea surface temperatures over the tropical Pacific, which typically increases "global average temperatures, as the ocean releases heat into the atmosphere," said Rachel H. White, an assistant professor in the earth sciences department at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in a previous interview.

There may be near-record (or record, depending on the strength of El Niño) global temperatures as the warming from El Niño combines with the long-term global warming trend, White said. 

Metro Vancouver weather forecast might include hot temperatures this summer

Climatologist Brian Brettschneider tweeted that April's global sea surface temperature was the "warmest on record for any April." Many other experts have also warned about dangerous heat this summer.

The Weather Network meteorologist Dennis Mersereau notes that "sea surface temperatures off the western coast of South America are warming up faster than expected," with temperatures 2 C above average in areas.

"The sudden warmup of an El Niño event has tremendous effects on the atmosphere above, pushing and pulling on the jet stream in ways that can influence seasonal conditions from Asia to Atlantic Canada," he said.

And while El Niño's effects impact Canada's winters most, they can affect the summertime pattern. 

Merserau said this rapid warming pattern could "favour generally below-seasonal conditions east of the Rockies, with warmer conditions possible along the West Coast and in the territories up north." However, Merserau said it is a bit early to speculate exactly how it will pan out.